We’d spent the morning cruising around the bay in zodiacs exploring some of the incredible icebergs. The water was glass-like shimmering just as silk does and reflecting ice all around. It was a world of white punctuated with glistening blue icebergs.
Not long after getting back on the boat there was the call-out to say that whales had been spotted. I grabbed my camera and took off for the deck. Minutes later whales were being spotted in every direction, our expedition leader had made the call to delay our departure and get all the zodiacs back in the water – we were heading back out to explore!
The next hour or so was just magic. The setting was already picture perfect so to add a bunch of whales feeding in the krill-rich waters of Wilhelmina Bay, you end up with a totally amazing experience.
The Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland coast in Australia is an absolute must visit.
The best way to get in touch with this simply magnificent piece of nature is probably diving, but snorkeling certainly comes a very close second (IMHO).
Once you’ve experienced its beauty from below the water then take the opportunity for a helicopter joy flight for a truly spectacular view. It’s perhaps a little expensive but well worth it, and definitely a once in a lifetime experience. There will be options of how long etc and if you are visiting the reef off Airlie Beach you may be given the option of flying either out to, or back from, the reef. Personally, I’d prefer to spend 10 minutes flying across the main highlights rather than 40 minutes in transit maybe seeing beautiful aerial views but only getting a minute or two of reef.
The boat trip to and from the reef generally takes a couple hours each way, so it is a full day. All in all though, it is a fantastic day out but your time on the reef pontoon is limited to maybe 3 – 4 hours max, so this means it’s busy, busy, busy. Getting into the viewing sub to take a look around, snorkeling as much of the available area as possible, filling up on the buffet lunch then teeing up time for the chopper flight makes things hectic. Certainly don’t go expecting a luxurious day with the reef to yourself, I think you’d need to take up the option of the overnight stay on the pontoon for a much more exclusive experience.
Click here to see more of the spectacular Great Barrier Reef.